The Great Game Fairs of Ireland

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The Game Fair is supported by:
tourism Northern Ireland Logo Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council Logo

Country Sports & Country Life

The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival

Our 62nd Irish Game Fair!

The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival in Northern Ireland with its partner Irish Game and Country Fair in the ROI are marketed as the Great Game Fairs Of Ireland. The two Fairs have demonstrated that the way forward for successful Irish Game Fairs is the organising and delivering of events with wide family appeal for those who live work or play in the Irish countryside.

The team behind the GREAT GAME FAIRS of IRELAND concept has a fine history and pedigree of delivering successful quality events and of course, Shanes and Birr Castles and Ballywalter Estate have superb records of hosting quality events. In 2013 they combined the Ballywalter Fair and the Shanes Castle event to deliver the largest and most successful Irish Game Fair ever. With even more attractions and stands it is confidently predicted that the beautiful traditional venue of Shanes Castle will see even larger crowds on the 24th & 25th June. The Birr Castle Fair (26th & 27th August) has also been extended and as the sole game or country fair of any significance in the ROI is also sure to have larger crowds and greater success.

Shanes Arena

When the members of the organising team launched the first major Irish Game Fair in 1978 their objectives included promoting the importance of countrysports, farming and conservation interests working together for the preservation of the Irish countryside and the rural way of life.

Over forty years on that objective is, if anything more relevant, as the whole rural way of life if not threatened with government legislation or interference with tradition, is threatened with habitat destruction. There is the need for a strong unified voice to promote balance within the countryside amongst land users such as farming, building, country sports, conservation and tourism interests.

It is considered that the Great Game Fairs of Ireland concept, with Fairs North and South, is the vehicle that can help promote and defend what is best in the Irish Countryside. With the support of the Irish Countrysports and Country Life magazine and the online magazine and the new IRISH GAME ANGLER magazine it is envisaged that our three country lifestyle events can play a crucial role in preserving the Irish countryside and its rural traditions while at the same time promoting rural business and tourism.

The Best Fairs for the Visitor

What distinguishes the Great Game Fairs of Ireland from other countrysports and country Fairs that have sprung up in different parts of Ireland is the fact that the experienced organisers whilst not forgetting tradition continue to innovate by introducing new attractions and events more relevant to new generations and a family audience. This marketing flair has been recognised by the Northern Fair being awarded the prestigious Northern Ireland Tourist Board Marketing Excellence Award and being shortlisted by TourismNI in 2016 as ONE of the TOP FIVE EVENTS of ALL TYPES in Northern Ireland.

Thus while the Fairs have the widest range of attractions, activities and the finest competitions including the prestigious ALL IRELAND GAME FAIR CHAMPIONSHIPS to interest the most discerning hunting, shooting and fishing enthusiasts, the events are not just aimed at the traditional Game Fair attendance.

In addition to the traditional Game Fair attractions, the fairs have a huge range of entertaining and educational activities, displays and attractions to interest anyone who lives works or plays in the Irish countryside. In both Birr and Shanes Castle the Great Game Fairs of Ireland have avenues with virtually as many in situ attractions as the Fairs bring.

Apart from the entertainment and educational objectives the two Great Game Fairs of Ireland have hard commercial objectives both for the brand and for their exhibitors. i.e. to create Fairs in Ireland of the size, scope and stature of the best Fairs in the UK and Europe and to deliver the best shop windows for rural products and services in Ireland.

The Best Fair for the Exhibitor

Why are these Fairs the GREATEST in Ireland?
Because they have:

  • The most experienced and professional organising team having delivered successful events for 39 years working on a true all Ireland basis. The 2017 Shanes Castle event makes history as the team's 62nd Irish Game Fair.
  • The most creative and innovative organising team - where we lead others follow
  • Committed organisation by experienced and dedicated country sports people
  • The best traditional Game Fair venues on beautiful estates
  • Central locations in Northern Ireland and the ROI
  • The largest attendances in all weathers
  • The best competitions with the best prize structure
  • The widest range of attractions
  • The biggest and most effective advertising and promotional spend
  • The sponsorship of top local media
  • The support of Ireland's premier and largest circulation country sports magazine Irish Countrysports and Country Life reaching c 100,000 readers per issue.
  • Their own dedicated and networked web sites with high web ratings

These are not just claims made by the organisers they are supported by the fact that the won the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Marketing excellence award when the event was described by the judges as: "as a superlative example of focused, knowledgeable and effective marketing." AND both fairs were quite uniquely awarded 'The Gathering' certificates by Irish president Michael D Higgins for the contribution they made to Failte's Gathering tourism initiative in 2013.

The gathering Certificate

Ireland's Real Game Fairs © Irish Game Fair